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back to article Twitter 'airport bomb hoax twit' charged

A man who allegedly made a joke threat to bomb a UK airport on Twitter has been charged with sending a menacing message. Paul Chambers, 26, of Balby, is scheduled to appear at Doncaster Magistrates' Court on Friday for a preliminary hearing after he was charged by South Yorkshire police on Thursday, The Independent reports. …

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Anonymous Coward

nice

be careful what you say, becouse if someone with power doesn't like it you're gonna get f---ed.

I'll have to hold off on my blowing up/shooting politico rants now, and the what I'd do if I were a terrorist theories.

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Paris Hilton

Twits will twitter

Here we have the case of a computer nerd fanbois terrorist being cunningly flushed into the open by the airport authorities pretending that they had the wrong kind of snow, like the Eurostar snow, and cancelling his flight.

With subterfuge like that, he is lucky to be banned from Robin Hood airport

Paris, because that is a much better place to fly

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Twittering twits

are known as Twatters

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Is this *really* good use of public time and money?

And more importantly, would I be charged for making the same joke in the pub?

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"would I be charged for making the same joke in the pub?"

Depends. How much CCTV and audio recording equipment is in there?

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Anonymous Coward

depends

Depends on who heard it, I expect the answer is yes.

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Multiculture

You can't expect world pieces until we are all aligned in the same mind-set. And the sooner we have all got the George Bush China Syndrome the better.

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Grenade

Pah...

It might seem a bit harsh but he only has himself to blame. Making any kind of bomb threat in this day and age - no matter how light-hearted - will be taken seriously. You have to bear in mind that they cannot hear tone of voice or determine somebody's mood from a message like that, so for all they know he might have been deadly serious.

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RE: Pah

Why were the authorities following him on twitter in the first place?

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Joke

Re: Pah...

"You have to bear in mind that they cannot hear tone of voice or determine somebody's mood from a message like that, so for all they know he might have been deadly serious."

Quite right! I find it very difficult to judge the sincerity of Bin Laden's tweets. Sometimes I think he's just being flat-out sarcastic!

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Grenade

because ...

a member of the public alerted them, IIRC - imagine if you're on Twitter, waiting for a relative to land at that airport and you saw that message.

Guys a numpty, and deserves to have the book thrown at him.

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Big Brother

RE RE Pah...

The Sneaky Beaky computers picked up his words - not people. Does anyone really think that everything we say, write and do now isn't monitored one way or another? Video Voice and text monitoring is out there - for real... after all the UK has more CCTV per head of population than any other country for instance....

Computers are easy to set up to do the monitoring for vocal or written words and phrases that might - just might - be offensive to 'them'...Mostly a good thing IF it is used to catch real terrorists, but the real danger is overdoing it against the general population...

I'd rather we hadn't been put in the situation we (the country) are in but we are where we are and surveillance is the name of the game. just let's not get carried away shall 'we' !!!

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Good

While on the surface it seems a waste of time and money to charge this idiot, hopefully it will serve as a deterrent that other social-networking-tards will take heed of and not post bomb threat "jokes."

If I wrote to him and "joked" that I was going to kill his family, I'm sure he'd be the first to complain...

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FAIL

Research needed

"who arrested Chambers and seized computers and an iPhone"

What percentage of iPhone owners are failures?

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Troll

A quick guess..

100% of those that give your comment the thumbs down.

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Anonymous Coward

when you've worked that out

how about working out how many Apple haters are weak-minded and spiteful sheeple who delight in posting unoriginal knee-jerk drivel in response to any mention of anything to do with Apple.

funny old world isn't it

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WTF?

Overreaction?

Rescued from Google's cache, the troublesome Tweet appears to be:

[quote]

pauljchambers Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky-high!!

4:08 AM Jan 6th from Tweetie

[/quote]

Now, I know you shouldn't make such jokes as you go through airport security, but can you really forbid such comments in all public places ... ?

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If I retweet ...

... Do I then become an accessory to "sending a menacing message"?

If that's the actual text in the tweet, then yes, this is a complete waste of time - it's blindingly obvious it's not a credible threat.

I've just searched twitter for "I'm going to kill" - the police have got their work cut out, the number of potential serial killers on there staggering.

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Black Helicopters

Try it at your own risk...

I wanted to suggest that you google for "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky-high!!" to confirm the source, but now I am finding that Google is taking forever to return a result for that. But if I parallel google for "foo" then the results come as quick as ever.

Methinks I have triggered some Echelon function.

If I don't post again then assume the black helicopters have got me.

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FAIL

What a tw*t

No sympathy in 'bomb hoax' cases like this... everyone knows: you just don't do it!

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Grenade

@ What a tw*t

It's not a "bomb hoax". It would be if he called the airport to report a bomb, which didn't exist of course. It might be if he twitted "tell the authorities I'm gonna ......". But this is just a disgruntled client venting, letting off steam. Use this test: would the man in the street be threatened by this. We all know the answer - "not even close".

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WTF?

Crime

Is there any wonder crime is out of control, the police spend all their time prosecuting this. The UK has totally lost the plot.

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Pathetic miserable humourless jobsworths

Bummer for him, but I'm glad it's going to court. Hopefully the Beaks will throw it out and send Plod and the Clown Prosecution Service away with a bee in their ear about wasting their time and the courts'.

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Big Brother

@Rogerborg

The magistrate is just as likely to give him a slap for forcing the police to waste their time. They *have* to investigate this crap - they aren't allowed any discretion for terrorist threats. There had to be a prosecution too so all those hours spent didn't go to waste when the coppers are reporting their stats.

He should be cautioned but that only seems to be used for real criminals these days. Personally, I'd make him wear a sandwich board at the airport for a week with "I'm a legally identified idiot - ask me why!" on it.

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Stop

Except...

... they'll find something on his computers that can be regarded as "extreme", and get him that way!

Oh, and for all those saying "Serves him right", we used to have this thing called free speech - you could say anything you like, and without further evidence, it could not be prosecuted (and yes, it did include shouting "Fire" in a crowded theatre). If you don't want people to be free to say what they want to, sod off to China.

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WTF?

But....

He actually threatened to blow up the airport, this is a plain and simple fact, go into a bank and tell the assistant that you have a gun and see what "freedom of speech" does for you, hame some common sense.

He made a big, stupid mistake, but other people have threatened explosions and murders via similar methods and carried out their threats, you must treat the threats equally, Eric Harris had put up threats on his website before the Columbine massacre, if these threats were taken seriously then maybe he wouldn't have killed so many people.

You cannot blame the authorities for over-reacting when undereaction could not only result in loss of life but also the public pointing fingers at them, now if they'd chased him down a tube station and shot him in the face a few times then maybe they should have some criticism, but not for this.

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Joke

And while I'm at it....

Isn't funny how if you start screaming i a library everybody stares at you, but if you start screaming in an aeroplane everybody joins in?

"Free Speech" means you can have an opinion about everything, not you can threaten to kill people.

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Stop

Oh, no...

""Free Speech" means you can have an opinion about everything, not you can threaten to kill people."

Let me deal with that for you, so you can apologise later:

1. "Free speech" means "free speech", not "free opinions". There is no point having an opinion if you can't express it, even if it is offensive or frightening to someone. For it to become sanctionable speech, there has to be behaviour to back it up so that it becomes a conceivable threat. If I were to say in this forum "I'm going to kill anyone that disagrees with me about free speech", no-one would take it seriously ... would they?

2. This guy didn't threaten to kill or harm anyone - he made a joke (remember those from when we had a free society) in order to let off some steam about the situation. Yes, he's a pillock - I live near Doncaster Airport, and they were not deliberately trying to keep aeroplanes away - but he has the right to say it as long as he doesn't act on it.

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FAIL

OK, I'm sorry

(that you're such a blinkered fool)

1. So your point is "I'm blowing the airport sky high" should be completely ignored unless there's some behaviour to back it up? what like, he's blown things up before? seriously? the man was charged with making a threat using a public network (which is what he did), then they investigated further, this is how these things work (charge if evidence then investigate), will he actually get jail time? nahhhhhh.....

2. No, you can not say anything you like as long as you don't act on it, don't be stupid, go up to a policeman and tell him that you're planning to murder the prime minister within the next 3 months, or post an entry on a public forum how you're going to make a bomb and put it in a shopping mall, just for authenticity post some "plans" give details of your bomb ingredients, then when you get a knock on the door say "I wasn't really doing to do it", do you think the old bill will a. shrug their shoulders and go "OK, sorry to bother you" or do your think they would b. charge you with "sending by public communications network a message that was grossly offensive, or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character contrary to section 127 of the Communications Act 2003" and investigate you?

What has happened here is that he has been CHARGED, he's not been put in chokey for the rest of his life, the police saw that he'd made a threat, the threat met certain criteria, public network, specific and time based, they were duty bound to "'ave a chat" with him, if you're involved in an RTA you will have your rights read, it's just part of the process, personally I'd have just given him a caution, the minimum needed to get the paperwork done.

You also seem quite naïve when you think it's OK to be "frightening", remember you can assault somebody without actually touching them if they have reason to believe that you could hurt them, if I got a shotgun ran up to somebody and told them I was going to shoot them in the face because I hate ginger people I assume you think it's OK as long as I don't actually do it?

The law, is the law, he may not have been aware of the law, but as it stands you commit a crime if you make menacing remarks on a public network.

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I think this case is Exhibit 1

in the call for the restoration of some earlier forms of punishment. Unless he's got provable ties to terrorist organization, it seems more appropriate to sit him in the stocks at the airport for 8 hours each weekend for about a year.

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Thumb Down

A bit OTT

Ok, it's not clever to suggest bombing even as an obvious joke, but, FFS, as if anybody who actually was going to bomb an airport, or anytjhing else, is likely to go on to Twatter and make a comment about it.

Worth challenging this ludicrous ban in the Court of Human Rights perhaps?

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Happy

But...

...didn't the underpants bomber (or one of the other recent terrorist wannabees?) tell his family what he was going to do before he did it?

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Errrmmm...

... isn't "telling members of family" different in so many ways from "making dozy comments to the whole Twittering world"?

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Unhappy

Great

Ummm, is this country completely nuts? Man, where are we headed?

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I hope he asks for a jury trial

I can't see 12 honest men and women imagining that he was acting in a threatening way.

Why do many people who cause actual harm get let off with a caution, whereas this guy gets the book thrown at him, despite no reasonable person imagining for one second that he planned to blow anything up, or even to give anyone the impression that he might.

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This guy gets the book thrown at him

because he did the modern equivalent of publicly claiming to "practice witchcraft". 500 years ago, making a public statement to the effect that you were trafficking with dark powers got you burned at the stake, regardless of your actual innocence or guilt. Today, "terrorist" and "paedophile" have replaced "witch", but the Spanish Inquisition is still alive and kicking.

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Big Brother

What a waste of time...

Can I now bring charges against South Yorkshire police for 'Wasting Police Time'!?

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WTF?

Hmm..

Think you have to wonder is what happens if you re-tweeted his original tweet.. would you get charged as a co-consipirator?

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Grenade

"(I Want To) Kill Somebody"

To quote from S*M*A*S*H's (I Want To) Kill Somebody:

So i'm a hyprocrite

Cos i don't believe in capital punishment

But here's my paradoxical quip

"The people who prescribe to it are

The people who should subscribe to it"

It's not that i want them dead

Its just this world be be a better place

If they never existed

I want to kill somebody

Margaret Thatcher, Jefferey Archer,

Michael Heseltine, John Major, Virginia Bottomley

Especially Gill Shepherd's got an appalling unemployment record

I want to kill somebody

Update with today's control-freak politicans/police chiefs at your leisure.

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Grenade

WTF???

Have we as a country gone mad???!!!?!?!?!?

I cannot simply believe that someones ramblings on Twatter - can be blown so far out of proportion.

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idiot

Jokes about security are sometimes a little funny when you are talking face to face with people who know your sense of humour, but when you know the security forces remit is to be uptight (and we do) then you can only blame yourself when they take you seriously and over react to your "joke".

I am no fan of the police state, but if the police did nothing about the twitterings and then something happened we would castigate them.

If you "joke" about a bouncer's mum/girlfriend then you expect to get hit right?

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Stop

The title is required, but I can't think of anything at the moment.....

"I am no fan of the police state, but if the police did nothing about the twitterings and then something happened we would castigate them."

Well I'm sure the papers would pillory them.

But I don't think it is a good justification for the police to jump on anyone that says something that they don't like the sound of. There must be thousands of incidents a week of people saying things like "I'm gonna kill you for this", many of them in public: should they all be hauled before the beak because he threatened someone with murder?

If you said something unpleasant about a bouncer's girlfriend, sure he would wallop you, but he would still be guilty of assault and rightly so. We should expect a higher standard from our police than from a bouncer.

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Big Brother

And people say Yorkshiremen have a good sense of humour.

I'd like to see this man have his day in court to prove the utter idiocy of the state these days.

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Grenade

Irony

"As reported in the Doncaster Free Press."

--

And what's with all the love of censorship and the acceptance of this kind of insane officialdom pomposity? Quick assessment: do people blow up airports due to snow-closures or as revenge for poor administration or is this hyperbole? Do serious bombers offer to cancel their mass-murder plans if the snow is cleared from the runway in time for their holidays?

A random twitter about getting the airport open is not the same as sending a letter to the airport saying you're you've put a bomb somewhere in the building because the local mullah told you that all westerners must die. It isn't a hoax - he isn't pretending he's going to do it, its hyperbole!

Just because officials have been making fools of themselves in the recent past by exaggerating any an all threats and handing out out-of-proportion punishments is no reason to allow them to go on doing so. They need reigning in and reprimanding for wasting public funds and paying attention to twitter.

The only thing worse than the stupidity of the officials involved in this actions is the stupidity of supporting them in their stupid ways!

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Anonymous Coward

The guy is an idiot...

... but not remotely as big an idiot as the people on his case.

A measured response would have been to interview and warn the guy about his stupid behaviour. Any normal seasoned adult (as opposed to barely pubescent police officers and security jobsworths) should have been able to assess the risk there and then.

The jobsworths are taking over this entire country...

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FAIL

no matter how light-hearted - will be taken seriously

And you know why that is?

Because the anti-terror army the government created to keep up the pretence that they do something useful can't find any real threats to take seriously.

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Black Helicopters

stupid over reaction...

While this may have warranted a knock on his door from a couple of uniforms, and maybe a trip to the station for a stern warning / caution, this is just rediculous.

The police / CPS aren't doing themselves any favours with cases like this, while they seem desperate to be seen to be 'doing something', their modus oparandi appears to be to jump on the first case they can find and 'make and example' which just makes them look like stupid facist wankers.

I'd like to bet there was a high level call to GCHQ that went something like this...

"With this underpants bomb attempt we need to make a splash - up the fear level and bash people into line... How about we find something for you to prosecute, not too high level but enough to stir up the press? Sounds good, what do you have in mind..? Give us a few hours, we capture hundreds of snippets every day that could be prosecuted under the TA, we'll monitor the social networks for a few hours and draw up a short list of potentials, then you can take your pick..."

Paranoid? Me? Who sent you?!

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FAIL

a witty title

What a waste of money, time and effort. Who ever is involved in propelling this case forward should be fired, along with their managers. If ANY public money has been spent on this it should be reclaimed from the idiots involved, their pensions should be claimed back, hell they should be sued for incompetence. Stupid idiots.

Can we please stop employing idiots with public money.

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Silver badge

@What a twat

He didn't make a bomb threat - he said the airport should be blown up.

If he said 'Ee i could bloody murder an Indian" would he be nicked for inciting racial hatred?

My gran regularly suggests that the local council should all be strung up - is she inciting mass murder?

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As Richie from Bottom once said

Doncaster - "Hey Eddie, It's got a DONG in it!"

The dong this time being this twittering twit bloke.

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